Keeping Sandberg a Must for Phillies Organization

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 28, 2011 12:05 PM | Comments: 14
IronPigs, Posts

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Maybe now is not the time to think about the end of this season, especially with the way things are going right now in South Philly. The playoffs are a certainty, another NL East title has been locked up by the Phillies, and another World Series title is well within reach.

It may not even be the time to think about next season, when Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins become free agents. So, why should we care about the end of 2013?

For one, Charlie Manuel’s contract extension expires. And secondly, the Phillies could lose out on a possible successor because of that.

Ryne Sandberg, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager, and now a part of the coaching staff of the Phillies until their run ends, is likely to become a coveted managerial candidate this offseason. And if not this winter, then likely in the very near future beyond that. It’s a problem because he would slide nicely onto Manuel’s stool in the dugout if Manuel were to decide to step away from the game after 2013. At age 71, it might be time for Uncle Cholly to hang ‘em up. At that point – especially if they win a title or two in the next couple of seasons – he’ll have nothing left to prove.

Sandberg himself really has nothing left to prove, either, which is why he’ll be a wanted man by many different teams quite soon. In 2010, Sandberg was the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year with the Iowa Cubs, their Triple-A affiliate. He has succeeded at every level of the minors. All that’s left is to taste the majors once again.

Here in Philadelphia, unless Manuel unexpectedly steps down, there’s no chance in hell it’s happening. However, there is a way he could return to Philly and to the team that inexplicably traded him away in 1982, only to see him become a Hall of Fame second baseman. Become the Phillies hitting coach.

Last season, Milt Thompson got the ax after the Phils struggled through the middle months. Greg Gross took over, and while the offense has been much better than last year, many believe it’s still an underachieving unit – and one that is aging. Clearly, Gross has done nothing to lose his job, but he hasn’t exactly helped this club reach new heights offensively. If you want to keep Sandberg in the organization, it might be the only move to make. Or, the Phillies could flip flop the two; give Gross the managerial position at Lehigh Valley and promote Sandberg to the bigs. This is a preventative move to ensure a great mind like Sandberg does not head for greener pastures.

I’m not naive, I know this is highly unlikely, but if something isn’t done – if a promise isn’t made to Sandberg at the very least – then he could be a goner (especially with two Chicagoland teams likely looking for new managers). It’s likely he’ll head back to the Cubs or even take a shot with the White Sox. Plus, Ruben Amaro stated that he has extended offers to everyone on the coaching staff, Gross included. Either way, Sandberg probably won’t stand for being a bridesmade once again – and by that I mean coaching another Triple-A team.

I’m a believer that if/when Manuel retires, the Phillies should look within if the resources are available to them. With Sandberg running the hitting side of things, and Pete Mackanin involved as bench coach, that’s two fine candidates right there. This team is a close knit group that will continue to be as they promote good, young talent each season and stitch them into the fabric of this club. The old veteran crop will eventually make way for the youngsters you’ve been hearing about seemingly forever; guys like Schwimer, De Fratus, and perhaps, eventually, Dom Brown. With that, why not have their leader be a manager they’re familiar with?

The fact of the matter is, losing Sandberg would be a coup for another organization. The Phillies will have to get creative, and soon, to make sure he doesn’t leave…again. But don’t hold your breath.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1677 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Anyone else wonder how many wins the team would have this year with a different manager …. like looking at what Maddon… or Kirk Gibson did with their teams..

    There have been rumors of Quade getting fired in Chicago.. and after passing him over last season, I would think the Cubs would love to give Sandberg a chance as their manager. I don’t know if the White Sox would be able to land Rhino without the Cubs getting in the way??

    and speaking of managers.. how about Ozzie Guillen to the Marlins ….. talk about someone to finally light a fire under Hanley Ramirez’s a$$ !!!

    • Posts: 5152 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Ozzie and Hanley- Now there’s a marriage made in hell for sure.

      • Posts: 0 loupossehl

        Ozzie Guillen – MLB’s answer and antidote to its problem of having way too much class.

  • Posts: 5152 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Sandberg is 52 years old. He deserves a chance long before we can apparently give him one. So unless something un-forseen happens, I think he will be managing somewhere else, probably as soon as next season. Maybe he will be available again in 2013.

  • Posts: 0 loupossehl

    A bit of an OT here while things are quiet … and in response to Brooks’ recent observation that Hunter Pence had been traded from a 100-loss club to our 100-victory club, and his wondering if this was perhaps a baseall “first” …

    As it turns out, not quite! (Allhough to be precise, Pence may well be the first position player to achieve such a distinction – see below.) For my research, I felt I could rely on that wonderful paragon of fair play, the New York Yankees. They would certainly have a goldmine of 100-win seasons, and perhaps in draining talent from their patsy of the ’50s and ’60s – the Kansas City Athletics – I might find one lucky soul who in a single season had gone from “spit” to Shinola. Sure enough I did; his name was Bud Daley. I now offer the Bud Daley story by excerpting from the Baseball Almanac. The whole story of the incestuous relationship between the champion New York teams and the pathetic Athletics – a storied franchise extracted from Philly and turned into the Yankees’ bitch – can be found at http://www.baseball-almanac.com … (I shamelessly now provide whole passages of text without proper enquotation, thereby defying copyright laws and inviting howls of plagiarism.)

    Many people call the 1961 Yankees the greatest team of all time. Ten of their players came directly from the Kansas City Athletics. In return, the A’s – suspected of being merely a Yankee farm club – were left so decimated that their 1961 team finished tied for the cellar of the American League, behind the L.A. Angels expansion team and tied with the expansion Washington Senators. At the beginning of 1961, the Athletics had one good starting pitcher in Bud Daley, a popular lefthanded knuckleballer who won 16 games in 1959 and 16 more in 1960 for a bad team. However, the Yankees needed a lefty, and in June they dispatched Art Ditmar, a 15-game winner, to Kansas City for Daley. Ditmar didn’t win a game in KC, going 0-6, while Daley won 8 games and pitched in the Series that fall. (Ditmar, in turn, captured MLB’s first and less coveted “Shinola to Spit” Award.) The KC fans protested this move so vehemently that Charlie Finley (who had just become the new A’s owner) promised to stop trading with the Yankees.

    The 1961 Yankees finished with a record of 109-53; the 1961 Kansas City Athletics won 61 games, lost 100, and finished in tenth place.

    As to the sordid background of this sorry sports tale, Connie Mack’s family sold the Philadelphia Athletics in 1954, and Yankee principal owner Dan Topping arranged for one of his business friends, Arnold Johnson, to buy the A’s and move the team to Kansas City. It’s still unclear how much influence the Yankee ownership held over the A’s, but the two teams then embarked on a six-year series of trades. These trades almost always favored the Yankees. The solid core of the Yankees, provided in large part by these lopsided trades, stayed intact for several more years, and the Yankees won four more pennantsw in a row from 1961 to 196r while the A’s floundered some more.

    As to the feeling at the time about this unhealthy friendship between the Yankees and A’s – the author surmises that the rest of the American League teams were screaming mad about this arrangement, but there wasn’t a thing they could do about it. “The Yankees were the richest and most powerful team in the league, and they could pretty much do whatever they wantede at that time.”

    “At that time”? The Yankees – you gotta love ‘em. There are few franchises that can bulk up financially so as to confront them eyeball to eyeball. As Phillies fans, how fortunate we are that our club has the necessary financial resources and determined front office to enable the Phightins to emerge as one of baseball’s elite.

    • Posts: 5152 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      That’s almost like the Phils and Astros with Ed Wade now!

    • Posts: 0 brooks

      Excellent find and Post Lou! Appreciate the dig.
      Roger Maris was also traded from the A’s to the Yanks in 1960, Maris won the first of his back to back MYP awards that year.

      In 1959 Maris was traded to the Yanks and the A’s received an inefectual Don Larsen, an aging Hank Bauer, a decent player in Norm Siebern and the one and only “Marvelous” Marv Thornberry. Seems like the Yanks gave up a lot but they sure did win out on the deal.

      The other mush the Yanks picked up did nothing at all.

  • Avatar of Dropped Strike Three

    I’m a Sandberg supporter and with all the potential “losses” this organization could have in the near future if they don’t get a few deals done, I’d rank Sandberg somewhere not far behind Cole Hamels. I’d say quality managers grow on fewer trees than right handed relievers (Madson), or aging shortstops (Rollins).

  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Can ANYONE light a fire under Hanley’s a$$?

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    He would be an excellent replacement for Cholly. If he can stay at the AAA for another year he would bring another perspective. Personally have coached some of the prospects(well the ones that are still here havent been traded). Next year and even more so the year after will bring in many changes to the Phils org. Might as well have a new manager in their as well. The question is will Sandberg want to wait another year. I also have a feeling Cholly will keep wanting to coach

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    I just do not see Sandberg sliding into Cholly Manuel’s stool — now or in a couple of years.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Sandberg will get a managerial opportunity with the Cubs before he slides in Cholly’s stool. Timing is everything and we are not going to get it done, unless Cholly retires early or gets fired.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Sandberg a “must”, not really Pat. He seems to be a competent manager but there are plenty of competent managers out there. I don’t see him generating any magic. And if anyone has any real questions about the value of a manager vs a player I would direct them to the salary of managers vs players. The market always tells you and what the market tells you is that a manager is worth a decent bullpen piece -say $2 million a year. If you are great you get $5 million.

    So Ryan Madson is worht a lot more than a replacement manager.

    The real value of a manager is not in-game moves which most of us can predict with high perecentage reliability. The value is keeping the team focused an working together. Manuel seems to do that well and I am sure Sandberg can do it but so can a lot of others. it is the players that make the difference.

  • Posts: 0 da bdb

    i think yari from yaris automotive could be a nice fill in manager if manuel and sandberg arent available next year

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